Located near the town of Grundarfjörður on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell may well be the iconic image of Iceland.
There is a reason this sight is so well photographed—it is very accessible, and has the ‘whole package’ of a distinctive mountain and two waterfalls in the scene (the second one is on the bend on the lower right of the image—the white water is beneath the fall).
Being so well photographed, the challenge with somewhere like Kirkjufell is to make an image that is unique.
Over the course of a couple of days during our Iceland adventures I was able to get several different perspectives, and was happy to get some real drama in the sky on in several images.
Yasaka no To is a pagoda in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district that is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the city.
The picturesque pagoda, coupled with the adjacent old-style streets, makes it very popular for photographers, tourists and locals alike, and by day you would be hard-pressed to find an angle without dozens of people throughout the scene.
There are a couple of ways of dealing with these crowds:
Ignore them, and in fact embrace them in your images;
Remove them from the scene in post-processing; or
Get up early and capture the streets with no one in them in the first place!
The third option was obviously what I did with this image, and I am really happy with the result. Not only did I get the images that I had in my mind’s eye, I was also able to have the experience of wandering these lovely streets and having them all to myself!
Perhaps the world’s most famous fountain (and certainly the most famous in Rome), the Trevi Fountain is a spectacular baroque masterpiece not far from the Pantheon in the city’s centre.
In my other Rome images I have discussed my preference for the pre-dawn blue hour as an opportunity to get nice light and few people. This image was made after sunrise, but before the crowds.
The image was created with a very wide angle of 7mm (14mm in ‘full frame’). A little bit of straightening was done with DxO ViewPoint, and basic editing in Luminar.
The small image to the right was shot in the middle of the day a couple of days before the post’s featured image in the middle of the day. You can see the significant crowds (noting it was late November), and the harsher mid-day light.
It really is worth getting up early for sunrise photography, and waiting around until the later evening for evening blue hour. In the European winter this is a little easier given the shorter days!
Even with a fairly featureless sky, blue hour is the best time of day to shoot for the clear, balanced light, and for the lack of crowds.
To get this image in frame required setting my tripod up on the fountain in the piazza in front of the Pantheon, using a wide angle lens. I accepted the bit of lens distortion, but found that I framed it too tightly to straighten the image up ‘in post’, but I am very happy with the image nonetheless.
I love the cool light of the sky and the warm light of the illumination of this 2 thousand year old religious structure. Ironically, the lights were turned off moments after this image, changing the look altogether.
The second image, without illumination has my wife standing at the base of the columns. This gives some perspective on the engineering awesomeness of this structure.
In the daytime there are many crowds around the Pantheon, with horse buggies and other street vendors. Daylight and crowds lead to very different shooting.
Wishing visitors a very Merry Christmas. Have a safe and happy holiday.
The Colosseum is such a large and important part of both the history of the Roman Empire and the City of Rome that it is actually hard to write something new and interesting about it.
Photographically, any trip to Rome really needs to include an early morning or late afternoon flight. Not only is this to allow the best chance of getting good light, but also to catch the place when the crowds are minimal.
In this case we made images at the Roman Forum at Sunrise, and the went directly to the Colosseum. The crowds were far smaller than in the middle of the day, but it is almost impossible to shoot without people in the image.
We visited in late November, perhaps one of the quietest times of year, but there were still lots of people about.
In this case, I considered deleting some of the people in post, but decided that the people visiting the place is part of the Colosseum story.
After these images, we went for some breakfast before touring this wonderful structure. I remain blown away by the sheer amount of history this place represents, starting in the Roman era, moving through the early Christian Church and into the modern era.
It is a truly impressive structure, and the engineers of the Roman Empire must have been outstanding, and you could only imagine what they might have been able to achieve if they had modern technology to support their construction.
Rome is full of history, most of it within an easy walk of the centre of the city.
A friend once said something to me along the lines of:
For Europeans 200km is a long distance, and for Australians 200 years is a lot of history.
There is a lot of truth to this, as any building in Australia that is 200 years old is likely to be a heritage building. In Europe there are many buildings many centuries old still in daily use, and real heritage can be found in sites like the Roman Forum, which dates back for more than 2,000 years.
We sought out a spot that is commonly referred to as the Forum Lookout, but found on scouting that there was a lot of scaffolding in place as key features are being cared for.
So I came back to shoot a sunrise, carefully setting up to avoid the scaffolding and taking in a broad view of the Roman Forum.
We also arrived quite a bit before sunrise, and after setting up the illumination lights were turned off. An HDR image was the best option here to bring out the most in this image.
Scouting and perspective are important, and with a bit of thought a decent image can be made.
The early backlighting from the sun behind cast a really nice light over the township, lighting the surrounding mountains up with a beautiful golden hue, and bringing out the details in the various pastel coloured buildings built up and down the town’s hills.
This differentials of colours were accentuated with the use of a Lee Filters GND filter and polarising filter, with some slight enhancement done in my favourite photo editing software, Luminar.
Lesson here, even when you have a good shot from a location don’t be afraid to go back at different times to really explore the location and the image possibilities.
This image was shot yesterday (as I write this) and was downloaded from my camera to my iPad. It was processed in Affinity Photo on my iPad Pro, and uploaded to this blog, and to 500px and Flickr using the built in share extensions.
Affinity Photo is an awesomely powerful photo editor, and marks, IMHO, the first real professional grade photo editing app for iPad. I think that I am really going to love this app. Affinity Photo has all the controls and capabilities that I would expect from a powerful imaging app, including HDR merge, panos and even focus stack merging.
I also really enjoy editing on an iPad Pro. The interaction of editing on a touch screen, and using the Pencil makes for a very enjoyable experience.
The downside to the process, at the moment, is that the DAM functionality is provided only by Apple’s Photos app. While a decent app in some areas, it doesn’t allow true organisation and meta-data management. The limitations of Photos is the true limiting factor for serious amateur and professional photographers.
I hope that Affinity Photo or other another app will soon step up to provide DAM functionality.
Other apps are also emerging that position iPad for excellent photo editing. I plan to blog about Plotagraph+ shortly.